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7 Top Adventure Camping Spots in New Zealand

If you're wanting to embark on a unique adventure and don't shy away from getting intrepid, you'll definitely want to read this list of some of New Zealand's finest adventure camping destinations.

These spots aren't for the faint hearted or lovers of convenience, you'll need to be well prepared. Be sure to pack smart, use lightweight items, plan ahead and always tell someone where you'll be going and when you will be back.

Keep your environmental impact low on these pristine spots by using biodegradable eco-friendly products, leave only your footprints behind.

Get out there on an adventure this summer!

Harataonga DOC Campsite, Great Barrier Island, Hauraki Gulf

Photo credit: Pinterest.com

Great Barrier Island in the Hauraki Gulf is where adventure begins. It's a rugged island filled with amazing wildlife, beautiful beaches and stunning scenery. A throw-back to the New Zealand of old, no electricity, seafood aplenty, remote untouched destinations, a small population and locals that still wave as one passes by. The DOC campsite at Harataonga Beach skips on luxury, tap water needs to be boiled and there are long drops. The stunning beach is easily compensation for these small hassles. The coastal walkway begins here too, which leads north from the bay. Birdwatchers rejoice, there are many species of rare bird that thrive on the island such as brown teal, kaka, and branded rail. There are 13 unique species of lizard also, so watch out for them on the trail when you visit Harataonga Beach these holidays.

Tapotupotu Bay DOC Campsite, Taupotupotu Bay, Far North

Photo credit: DOC

Tapotupotu is virtually the end of the road in the Far North and will see you camping on the tip of New Zealand. It's a beautiful horseshoe bay with golden sands. At times, it can hold some decent surf too. There's great fishing from the rocks at each end of the bay and good kayaking to be had in and out of the estuary depending on the tide. Tapotupotu campsite is a wilderness camping area accessible by road with minimal facilities, so you'll need to boil your water and brave the long drops when nature calls. Tupotupotu Bay is part of the four-day Te Paki Coastal Track which tracks the coast to the lighthouse at Cape Reinga. Don't forget to pack the insect repellent as the area comes alive with critters at dusk, a small price to pay for one of the most epic camping spots in the Far North.

Port Jackson DOC Camping Ground, Port Jackson,Coromandel Peninsula

Photo credit: Rankers NZ

To reach Port Jackson requires a decent drive on winding gravel roads, this keeps the crowds to a minimum. The campsite is right on the water's edge and has some unique fire pits where campers can whittle away the dark hours of the evening while star-gazing next to warm and crackling fire. The eastern end of the campsite sees the Murawai Coastal Walk leading up the headland towards Wharekaiatua Pa and some stunning coastal views. The fishing, boating and kayaking is fantastic in this area, but there are strong currents, so know your limits and be water safe these holidays.

Maori Beach DOC Campsite, Stewart Island, Southland

Photo credit: Southlandnz.com

The Maori Beach campsite is part of the Great Walk collection of sites on remote Stewart Island in Southland. A track behind the campsite leads to unique rusting steam boiler, a relic from the days when Maori Beach supported two sawmills and a school. The entirety of Stewart Island is an adventure, and this campsite is no different, there is a small shelter which you can cook under, rainwater from a tank and a basic toilet. The campsite is located on the Rakiura Track halfway between Lee Bay and Port William Hut.

Mangatutu Hot Springs DOC Campsite, Kaweka Forest Park Hawkes Bay

Photo credit: DOC

This is a great starting point for tramping, hunting or day hikes up the Mohaka River and further into the Kaweka Forest Park. The rivers in the area offer really good Rainbow and Brown Trout fishing, hunting will see you after Sika and Red Deer. From the campsite, a short, steep track descends to Mangatutu Hot Springs where the hot water trickles down a bluff into two pools, just waiting for you to take a relaxing dip after a long day's tramping.

Awaroa DOC Campsite, Abel Tasman National Park, Nelson

Photo credit: DOC

Access to this fairly remote campsite is by boat or foot access only, so it really is an adventure just to get there. When you arrive, you'll be greeted by a beautiful sandy bay nestled on the Mosquito Bay to Awaroa section of the Abel Tasman Coast Track. The campsite gets great sun, is beside an estuary and just has hand washing sinks and a fireplace. You'll be backpacking in and out, so travel light and enjoy the amazing scenery this National Park stop off has in abundance.

Gillespie's Beach DOC Campground, West Coast

Photo credit: Top10holidayparks.co.nz

The DOC campground at Gillespie's Beach sees you pitching your tent near an old gold mining settlement with an active and vocal seal colony close by to visit. There are tracks from the campsite that lead off to historic suction and bucket dredges, and further on to Galway Beach. From the site you get fantastic views of the Southern Alps Ka Tiritiri o te Moana and you can visit an old historic cemetery close by. At the end of the day you'll get treated to some unbelievable sunsets, don't forget to pack the insect repellent, midges and sand-flies can be truly hectic at times on the mighty West Coast.

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